by the Sun-News Editorial Board, Las Cruces Sun-News
Sept. 5, 2018

Labor Day 2018 will be no different than Labor Day 2009 for minimum wage workers. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since it was last increased in July, 2009.

The situation in New Mexico is only slightly better. We raised our minimum wage to $7.50, but it has also been unchanged for nearly a decade.

“Food, utilities, rent, and basics like diapers, have all gotten more expensive in the last nine years, but our minimum wage has stagnated. That $7.50 does not buy what it bought in 2009,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a political advocacy group focused on childhood issues.

For much of the American workforce, there is much to celebrate this Labor Day. The federal unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is just a fraction of the high of 10.2 percent that we saw in October, 2009. The economy continues growing and adding new jobs each month.

But wage growth has not kept pace with job growth. July numbers showed hourly wages have only grown by 2.7 percent in the past year. It was, according to the Washington Post, the 94th straight month that jobs have gone up, and the 110th straight month that wages grew by less than 3 percent. In fact, wage growth has actually declined in the past two years from 2.8 percent to 2.7.

Read more in the Las Cruces Sun-News